The Intergenerational Report

Monday, March 30, 2015

Earlier this month the Australian Government's Intergenerational Report was released, ‘outlining and assessing the long-term sustainability of current Government policies and how changes to Australia’s population size and age profile may impact on economic growth, workforce and public finances over the next 40 years’. (Aust Gov).

Social researchers and demographers Mark McCrindle and Claire Madden have given thought, analysis and media commentary on the report’s content, as well as implications this has for Australia moving forward.

Mark McCrindle on the Intergenerational report

Claire Madden on the Intergenerational report

1. Is increased immigration the answer to work participation shortages?

Currently, three fifths of our population increase is through migration with only two fifths from natural increase, so it’s already pretty high by historic levels. Also, migration doesn’t necessarily reduce the average age, since it is 37 for both an Australian and similarly a migrant coming in. So while increased migration meets the immediate workforce need, it will also add to the ageing population. Certainly it has been critical to Australia’s growth and will remain important into the future however it is just one part of the solution. The Intergenerational Report addresses the three P’s – population, productivity and participation. Participation refers to how the workforce can allow people to work later in life, as well as how workforce options and flexibility can build the participation of more young people and women. So apart from population factors, participation and productivity hold the key to future economic prosperity.

2. What jobs will help and pop up over time?

With the decline of manufacturing and the whole industrial base in Australia, there has always been talk of Australia moving to this knowledge economy and service jobs. I think from an older Australian perspective, if we do want to work through our 60s and 70s it is going to have to be in more technology-type roles rather than manual roles. But that’s part of the problem of the third P – productivity – we must ensure that we add the jobs to accommodate this and jobs that older people, students and others want to take up.

3. What does this mean for our cities?

Australia’s capital cities make up a significant proportion of Australia’s population. Because we are adding more than a million people every three years, we need to accommodate and plan for that – the infrastructure has to be there. People are not moving further and further out they are moving into the infill, into vertical communities. Infrastructure investment is critical to maintain the quality of life that Australians have come to expect.

4. Are intergenerational households set to increase?

Due to the increase in the cost of housing, we are going to see intergenerational households increase. Young people who can’t afford the $900,000 median house price in Sydney will be staying at home longer, as well as older Australians that don’t want to move into supported aged care, who will move back in with their families. So we are going to see a lot of change in household structures – where we are living and how we are living.

5. Will 2055 present a better experience of living in Sydney than today?

If you look at Sydney now it’s as good as it’s ever been. In fact the lifestyle is such that people are moving into the inner suburbs and we are seeing the renewal of areas that just a decade ago were not desirable. So I think we can find solutions. As this report says we do have to work, not harder – people don’t want to work longer or harder – but smarter. We’ve got to find some innovation skills and technology skills to solve the 21st century problems.

6. What challenges do Gen Y face in the wake of Australia’s Ageing Population?

It is certainly a challenge with the ageing population, the impact on government budgets, meeting the growing service demands, workforce shortages, leadership succession, wealth transfer and generational change. Keep in mind that the ageing of our population is a good news story. We are living longer, active later and able to work and contribute far more than any previous generation. But expectations will have to be managed. We have found in our research that some in Gen Y have a lifestyle expectation that they will be able to start their economic life in the manner which they have seen their parents finish theirs but such growth and gains are not always possible and should not be expected.

7. How does Gen Y’s situation differ from that of Gen X and the Baby Boomer generation?

The Baby Boomers certainly benefited from the post war boom, an increase in house worth and have had four decades of an economic boom. They’ve had stable economy and rising incomes over that time. And while we are at a point where the earnings have increased over the last couple of decades, wages have not kept up with the pace of house prices. So four decades ago the average earnings were $7600 in a year, while today it is around $72,000 so quite an increase, almost tenfold. But over that same period of time houses have increased by thirtyfold.

8. Considering the difficulty for Gen Y to become first home buyers, will we see a big preference shift among young Australians with regards to buying their first home?

The desire to buy a home is deep in the Aussie psyche, it’s the Aussie dream to have a place of your own but not necessarily a detached house with a backyard and a shed and a hills hoist. The Baby Boomers could pick up an average house in Sydney for $28,000 a couple of decades ago – now the average Sydney house price is over $850,000 so that is a dramatic change. Apart from the affordability challenge of such a home, there are changing lifestyles as well with new generations seeking not just a suburban life but an urban one, closer to public transport and more walkable communities. We are witnessing in Australia right now massive generational transitions.

A Snapshot of Career Practitioners in Australia

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Preparing young Australians for an ever-changing workforce is a growing challenge. Research released today by the Career Industry Council of Australia and McCrindle shows that over half of all career practitioners are working part time in their role. Of those, just 1 in 3 are able to devote the entirety of their time to career education and guidance.

Career practitioners increasingly under-resourced

What career professionals provide is key to getting young people into the workforce. When career practitioners are under resourced and time poor, this affects young Australians’ ability to enter the workforce.

Mark McCrindle, principal of McCrindle says, “Today’s school leavers are the most digitally supplied and globally connected generation in history but also have more post-school options to consider than any previous generation – they need help transitioning from education to participation. We know that school leavers today need life and career skills which can future-proof their employment in this changing, multi-career era and this is exactly what career practitioners provide.”

The top areas where career practitioners spend most or some of their time often involve things other than career counselling, such as subject selection:

Research shows 1 in 3 career practitioners are provided with less than $1000 annually to undertake career development activities across their entire school. 1 in 2 schools with a population of over 1000 students have less than $3 per student to spend on career education.

One in five unemployed Australians today is a teenager

These figures are especially of concern as 1 in 5 unemployed Australians today is a teenager.

290,000 young Australians aged 15 to 24 were categorised as unemployed in January 2015. The hardest hit were the 15 to 19 year olds, with the unemployment rate for this group hitting 20 per cent – a level not seen since the mid-1990s. Nearly 160,000 Australians aged 15 to 19 were unemployed in January, out of an overall pool of more than 780,000 unemployed.

“If we expect 15-19 year olds to be independent and resilient contributors to our society, it is important to provide them with quality career education programs whilst in school and give them access to high quality career advice, assisting them to make informed decisions about future study and work. This advice should come from qualified career advisers who meet the industry’s professional standards and have been registered by CICA,” says David Carney, CICA Executive Director.

Download the Infographic

Download the infographic which features the findings of a national survey conducted by CICA of 937 career practitioners working in schools across Australia.

For more information

For more information or media commentary, please contact Ashley McKenzie at McCrindle on 02 8824 3422 or

How do Australians get to work? [in the media]

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Mark McCrindleAustralia is growing by 300,000 cars each year and is currently home to 13.3 million registered passenger vehicles – an all-time record high.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle joins ABC’s News Breakfast to talk through the latest social analysis on transport and how Australians get to work.

9 in 10 Australians use a car for some purpose, and 7 in 10 Australians use a car to get to work. Just 1 in 10 Australians use some form of public transport to get to work.

When asked why Australians don’t use public transport, 54% say it’s because public transport options are not readily available to them. In fact, for 1 in 5 that do use public transport, they also use a car to access their bus or train stop.

These figures explain why Australians place such an emphasis on government tax dollars being spent on improving road systems rather than investing in public transport infrastructure.

The urban sprawl that has marked our cities is evident in these figures. Tune in to the segment as Mark discusses the latest social analysis:

ABC News Breakfast also takes an in-depth look at McCrindle's Getting to Work figures across the nation's capitals.

When comparing cities and regions, Sydney has 1.1 million drivers on the road, and while Melbourne has less commuters, it actually has more car drivers than Sydney.

Almost 40% of all female cyclists get to work in Melbourne.

Sydney has declined in the number of people taking passengers to work, whereas Hobart leads the charge with people dropping someone to work.

The Northern Territory is the place where people are more likely to walk to work than any other state or territory with 1 in 10 walking to work.

Queenslanders are most likely to use a motorcycle than any other city, and Canberra is also big in push bike riding.

Tune in to ABC reporters as they discuss how Sydney and Melbourne commuters compare in the way they get to work:

Skilled Migrant Increase: Aussies Too Posh for Menial Work [in the Media]

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Are Australians becoming too posh for their own good? A number of Australian industries are struggling to fill roles with local workers, resorting instead to a skilled migrant labour base.

Low skilled areas like meat manufacturing or fruit picking and growth areas like aged care and construction are industries in which many Australians are choosing not to work in. Instead, employers are increasingly looking to skilled overseas migrants to fill the gaps. 

The push from younger Australians towards more aspirational or professional roles is creating industries filled with many older Australian workers. Higher education is a popular option for young people, with 1 in 3 Australians in their late 20’s having a university degree. Today's Gen Y and Gen X employees are looking for career path and long term opportunities and, in most cases, are not satisfied with short term employment. 

Future planning is key with Australia leading most other OECD nations in population growth at 1.8% per year. Two thirds of Australia's population growth is from migration, with a further two thirds of this migration taking place through working visas. Long term planning in terms of public transport, hospitals and other infrastructure must be done in order for the country to adjust to the population growth caused by these migration patterns.

Mark McCrindle joins Natasha and James on Channel 10’s ‘Wake Up’ on the 14th of January to discuss the skilled migrant increase in Australia, the underlying causes leading to this population growth pattern, and what the government can do to ensure sustainability in the years ahead.

Who do Australians go to for Advice?

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

In fitting with the Australian culture, there is a down-to-earth 'fair-dinkum' attitude that influences who Australians trust. 

It’s the relational, more than the positional, aspects that determine who we would most likely take advice from. Such is the practical attitude that drives Australians – above all they look for experience and evidence in their advisors rather than power or position.

Where Australians go when seeking trusted advice

When choosing whom to trust for advice, Aussies are more likely to seek out a close friend, their doctor, a technical expert, an academic, and even their boss over a government leader. In fact, 1 in 4 Australians (26%) report that it is not at all likely that they would seek advice from government officials or regulators, whereas only 4% of Australians would avoid seeking advice from a close friend/family member or an experienced practitioner.

Australians receive advice from those they have a relational connection with, followed by those who have experience in a given subject matter, and those who have the skills and expertise to comment wisely. 2 in 3 Australians (67%) would be very or extremely likely to take advice from an experienced practitioner, with almost as many (64%) learning first and foremost from friends or relatives.

Most trusted when seeking advice:

    1. Family or friend 
    2. Experienced practitioner 
    3. Technical expert

Least trusted when seeking advice:

    1. Government official or regulator 
    2. CEO/Senior leader
    3. Not-for-profit body or assocation

Advice across the generations

The older the individual, the more likely they are to seek out the trusted advice of an experienced practitioner. While 62% of Gen Ys are very or extremely likely to seek out the advice of someone with experience in a field, this percentage rises to 66% for Gen Xs, 70% for Baby Boomers, and 81% for the Builder Generation.

For more information, download The Trust Report 2013

The Trust Report 2013: Who Australians Most Trust

Friday, June 28, 2013

While the confidence that Australians have in their politicians is at a low ebb, it’s not a lack of trust in what they do as much as why they do it and what they say that are the biggest issues.

A recent McCrindle Study surveying 568 Australians from June 12 to 20, 2013, gives insight on the latest perceptions held by Australians towards their political leaders.

Distrust caused by lack of truth and transparency

The largest percentage of Australians (47%) say that their main reason for distrust of public figures and national leaders is linked directly to a lack of truth and transparency. While distrust of priorities, such as focusing on short-term outcomes as opposed to working towards long-term community good is seen by 1 in 5 Australians (19%) as the main source of political distrust, Australians at large place a greater value on the truthfulness and honesty of their leaders. The motives of public figures and national leaders are also distrusted by Australians, with 1 in 5 (18%) sceptical that leaders are motivated by personal gain and benefits.

The truth blame of distrust greatest in Queensland and the ACT

When asked to give reason for their political distrust, Queenslanders and ACT residents had the highest percentage of respondents who blamed a lack of truth and transparency as the chief factor, with 55% of residents giving this response, compared to 47% of Australians nationally.

Gen Ys less likely to blame truth for distrust than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers

Generation Y, those aged between 19 and 33, have less suspicions about the truthfulness of politicians than do Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. Compared to the 54% of Baby Boomers and 46% of Gen Xers who stated that their main reason for political distrust is a lack of truth and transparencey, only 41% of Gen Ys were of the same opinion.

Most trusted leaders

When asked in an open-ended response to name the Australian public figure or national leader who they most trust, Australians named the following leaders, with size depicting a leader’s ranking. Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd came out on top, tying for most trusted spot.

The Top 5 Most Trusted Leaders are as follows:

1. Tony Abbott (tie) 

1. Kevin Rudd (tie) 

3. Malcolm Turnbull 

4. Julia Gillard 

5. Quentin Bryce

Most respected leaders

When asking Australians to name the current political or national leader who they most respect, results are surprisingly similar, with Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd again coming out on top and Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull close behind: 

The Top 5 most respected leaders are as follows:

1. Tony Abbott

1. Kevin Rudd 

3. Julia Gillard

4.  Malcolm Turnbull 

5. Quentin Bryce (tie)

5. Joe Hockey (tie)

Most innovative thinkers

Innovative thinkers are able to produce change by modifying traditional established methods of operation and transforming them with new ideas and ingenuity. 

The top innovative thinkers on the Australian political leadership scene as voted by Australians are as follows:

1. Tony Abbott 

2. Malcolm Turnbull 

3.  Kevin Rudd

4. Dick Smith

5. Christine Milne

Are you curious to know who it is that we trust and how we perceive our national identity?

Download The Trust Report 2013. Click here to download the full report.

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